Your Android device may be broadcasting your location, even if its screen is turned off
The Electronic Frontier Foundaton has revealed a new dilemma and a new reason for us to worry. It recently alarmed us that even if we turn off the screen of our Android devices, we will not be able to stop it from broadcasting our location. On Wednesday, EFF put it this way saying "Do you own an Android device? Is it less than three years old? If so, then when your phone's screen is off and it's not connected to a Wi-Fi network, there's a high risk that it is broadcasting your location history to anyone within Wi-Fi range that wants to listen.”
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The location of your phone is being broadcasted because of the Preferred Network Offload feature which is found in Android versions 3.1 (Honeycomb) and all the ones that came after it. Though the feature comes with a couple of benefits such as saving battery life and making it easier to connect to known Wi-Fi networks, it has the disadvantage of letting away the information by providing 15 networks the device has connected to, using real language names. It works in a very simple manner; for instance if you have been at Starbucks and were connected to their Wi-Fi, someone accessing the device's location signal would know where you've been.
The good news is that not all Android devices leak the Wi-Fi information. Around 28 devices were tested and it was found that several Google Nexus devices and several Motorola Droid models leaked Wi-Fi network data, other newer Android devices—including the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 did not. There is a way you can avoid this from happening. You can stay clear by manually forgetting the network name they want to keep private, or completely disconnect from WiFi networks before turning off the screen.
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